It’s time to get serious. I mean really serious. You have heard me mention it before, but…my name is Emily and I have a pumpkin addiction.
Whew! I feel so much better. It’s almost like the act of baking or eating something with pumpkin magically conjures fall. As long as I stay inside and out of the 95-degree heat…
Today is not about pumpkin, however. Today is about gingerbread.
“Whaaaat? Are you nuts? Are you one of those psychotic-forget-about-fall- Columbus Day-Halloween-Thanksgiving-freaks who starts listening to Christmas music in August and decorating after July 4th?”
No, but I did sneak in an early screening of “Elf” (It was on cable, I didn’t actually put in the DVD) and I have my Christmas playlist ready to add to my phone when the time is right. Just in the interest of full disclosure.
So the gingerbread thing? Don’t get too excited with visions of yummy, spicy recipes. This is a craft.
Stick with me, it’s a cute story.
The youngest child, as you may know, likes to make her own fun. Often. And bring us all in with her. We are often willing, because it’s always interesting.
This kid comes up to me out of the blue and asks if I know the location of her gingerbread man paper.
Seriously, she asked, “Mommy, where is my gingerbread man paper?”
I, being the omniscient mother, said, “What gingerbread man paper?’
She looked at me with pity and disappointment.
“The one my teacher gave me last year.”
“Oh. That one.”
Here is where I kinda went into a Seth-and-Amy-style rant. I kept it short.
“Really? A paper you got last year? Really? When you can’t even find the papers that you got at school yesterday? Really? Really?”
“I want to do something with it.”
So, I used my bat-phone to call for help.
Actually I just texted her 1st Grade teacher and asked if she had any idea what the child meant. She did. In no time, she texted back a picture of the gingerbread man sheet. A little bit of me secretly hoped she had no idea what I meant. But, the craft fates had other plans for me.
I forwarded the photo to the child’s iPad and said, “There it is! The gingerbread man paper!”
That, I thought, was all. Soooo wrong. A few days later, I saw her skulking outside her father’s office door, clutching the iPad to her chest and humming.
“What’s goin’ on over there? You look a little sketchy.”
“I’m just waiting for daddy to get off the phone.”
“Okay, stalk away.”
It became obvious after a few minutes that the conference call would go on for a while. She left her post and disappeared into the craft room. Shortly after her departure, the hubby came out of the office with a sheet of paper in his hand-fresh off of his brand new printer.
“Did you print something?” he asked.
“Nope,” I answered.
“Something about a gingerbread man?”
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.
The youngest child skipped into the kitchen, said, “Oh, that’s mine!” and skipped out.
Let me assure you that we had never printed anything from the iPads to a printer in our house because we lacked a printer with Wi-Fi capabilities before that week. And the other point is that the child is seven. I guess when you want to craft, you don’t want to wait. Necessity is the mother of DIY I.T.? Something like that?
So a while later, there was an announcement:
“Everyone please come to the kitchen. We will be doing a family project.”
We slowly complied, a little hesitant. After the printer scene earlier, I was afraid her project might be to hack into the NSA as a family. Turns out she just had stacks of cut construction paper, scissors and glue. Whew! Low-tech project. Good deal.
She picked up the gingerbread man paper and read the instructions, handing each of us a piece of brown paper.
“Draw your gingerbread man shape on here and cut it out first. It can be a gingerbread girl or boy, I don’t care.”
We all started sketching our ginger-people and cutting them out. Occasionally, someone would say “Oh, mine has reeeeeeally skinny arms,” or, “Wow, mine had a super-goofy body!”
The youngest child continued.
“Okay, now listen to all of my instructions and do what I say.”
“First, if you are a girl, cut out pink eyes and if you are a boy cut out blue eyes.”
“Poor daddy, he’s all alone!”
“Next, if you are six, make an orange nose. If you are seven, make a red nose. If you are eight, use green and if you are nine use yellow…wait, only two of us are young enough to be on this list. Okay, if you are over 10, use blue.”
Logical. Good, quick fix.
She proceeded down the sheet (You can read the steps on the instruction sheet above for all the details) and we followed along. We cut and glued and cut and glued. We wound up talking about family and hobbies, likes and memories. It really turned into a fun and special project.
For each band of white on an arm or leg, we talked about our sibling represented there. When we got to the mouth, we had to choose which pet we like best and make the corresponding mouth shapes. That got real, yo. “You actually like Wesley better than Flash and Molly?” the youngest asked the oldest, incredulously. “I like all of our pets the same.” So diplomatic.
At the end, we all had a gingerbread person as unique as each of us. I hung them on a magnet board by the front door to welcome people to our home. A reminder of our fun day.